Monday, March 26, 2007

Google Earth in Second Life!

Today we launched the GeoGlobe, a tool meant to bring Google Earth into Second Life (SL). The GeoGlobe takes feeds (currently KML, GeoRSS and RSS) as input and displays them as properly geolocated prims onto the GeoGlobe. We undertook this project to experiment with how "real world" data can be visualized effectively within the immersive environment that is SL. Far too often, designers/builders in SL rely on old user interaction paradigms for displaying information. We wanted to push the boundaries a bit for how users can interact with feeds of data available on the web by bringing them into SL in the context of a Google Earth-like experience.

Hayduke Ebisu, Stephane Zugzwang and Corro Moseley all had a hand in bringing this to reality. The feeds we are currently working with are from the USGS (seismic data in kml format) and CNN, BBC and India Times news feeds in RSS flavors. For the news articles, we are doing a bit of geocoding based on extracted country/city names in the feeds. The geocoding is not exactly perfect, but close enough for this prototype.

The link for it is here

Instructions for use:

Once you teleport to the location linked from above, you should be able to use your camera controls to look around the globe. You can zoom into the prim "dots" sprinkled around the globe to see the headline for that instance. Click on the dots to go to the webpage associated with that feed item. To refresh the feeds, click the shiny ball floating above the sign that describes the feeds used (please try not to do this too much, as it taxes the Commonwealth sim's http request allocations).

1 comment:

Jeff McNeill said...

This is a great thing. The use of the VR Room is quite nice for that all-around viewing. The challenge is that the prims are fairly large marking the different news locals and kind of bunch up on top of each other, so it is not possible to click some of them. This is however a really great visualization and I would love to know where I could get the globe map (I have the VR 230 version) and how the coordinates were determined for the different locations?

Cheers and excellent work.

Aloha,
Jeff McNeill
aka Donnagh McDonnah